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Meet the candidates for the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft, and how they dominate

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Tua, Herbert headline Kiper's top QB prospects (1:50)

Mel Kiper Jr. evaluates Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon's Justin Herbert, who rank as the top two quarterback prospects on his preseason Big Board. (1:50)

The 2020 NFL draft is already shaping up to be a loaded class at several positions. The No. 1 pick, though? No prospect is a lock. Did anyone the past two years have Kyler Murray or Baker Mayfield going No. 1 overall two games into the season? I don't think so. That's what makes the draft so fun -- any player could emerge over the course of the season.

So let's evaluate those early candidates for the top pick in 2020, and I'll show you how each of them dominates on tape. Yes, Tua Tagovailoa makes the cut, but I have three other quarterbacks on the list, plus pass-rushers, offensive tackles and one stud wide receiver.

I'm looking for special traits -- some prospects are more consistent than others, but all of them flash those elite qualities. I'm even including a few wild cards at the end. Here we go:

Jump to a position:
QBs | WR | D-line
OTs | Wild cards

The elite quarterbacks

Signal-callers have been picked No. 1 overall in four of the past five drafts, and we know that it's the most important position in the NFL. These QBs would fit well with the Dolphins, who are projected to have the top pick:

Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

Class: Junior | Height: 6-1 | Weight: 218
Kiper rank: 4 | McShay rank: 1
Stat to know: Total QBR of 93.1 in 2018

How he dominates: Accuracy/anticipation

I don't see elite arm talent with Tagovailoa, but his ability to make anticipatory throws -- with high-end accuracy -- puts him in a prime position to attack in the vertical passing game (check out the video clip below) or target tight windows. Whether Tagovailoa is throwing the quick game, working the ball to the middle of the field or hitting a flood concept outside of the numbers, he can dice up secondaries with quick processing and ball placement.

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Tua connects with Jeudy for 79-yard Bama TD

Alabama takes its first lead of the game as Tua Tagovailoa finds Jerry Jeudy down the middle for a 79-yard touchdown.

In addition to Tagovailoa's throwing traits, which I have compared to Kurt Warner's, the junior quarterback has the movement skills that mesh with today's modern pro schemes. He can be used on QB-designed runs, run-pass options (RPOs) and play-action concepts that allow him to move outside of the pocket. Pair that with surgical accuracy -- he completed 69.5% of his passes last season on his way to being Heisman runner-up -- and Tagovailoa is very much in the discussion to go No. 1 overall next April.

Game you have to watch: at Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Nov. 30. I want to see Tua put up numbers -- and punch a ticket to the SEC title game -- against a Tigers defense that flies to the ball.


Justin Herbert, Oregon

Class: Senior | Height: 6-6 | Weight: 237
Kiper rank: 8 | McShay rank: 7
Key stat to know: 69 TD passes and just 17 INTs in his career